Dinner: A Good Patio Makes Every Mediocre Meal Better

photoMy history choosing Italian restaurants: There have been moments of greatness; the rest blend together in a sea of mediocrity.

I always go in hopeful; since moving to the Upper East Side, I’ve been particularly intrigued with Caffe Buon Gusto, which has dual patios — need I say more? There is a slightly-elevated, street-facing patio and a cozy, vine-covered patio out back; really, it was only a matter of time.

The back patio lived up to expectation: Small, round, tiled tables; vines draping everywhere; candles casting a pleasant glow. I’d come back just to hang out, have an appetizer and drink some wine … if the wine list was a little more interesting.

photo-3The food? It was … fine. Which is my problem with Italian food most of the time. It’s rarely bad, but rarely great.

My spinach salad (called the Fiorentina salad) came tossed in a creamy, vaguely tangy (yogurt? sour cream?) dressing and topped with sliced mushrooms and diced pancetta, which was salty even by my standards (and I love salt). The portion was substantial; I could have probably stopped here.

But we also split an order pasta from the choose-your-pasta, choose-your-sauce menu: homemade cheese tortellini, pesto.

photo-2I am no connoisseur of Italian cuisine, but I think pesto, I think fresh herbs pounded into a pulp, mixed with good things like garlic and olive oil. Our tortellini turned up in something more like a cream sauce with some herbs blended in — let’s put it this way, if you were lactose intolerant, this would become an issue. Sigh. Let’s just say, the patio and the company saved this meal from the mediocrity abyss.


Published by

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s